Monday, August 17, 2009


CARLEEN HUTCHINS MAY 24,1911/ August 7, 2009
Carleen Hutchins was an innovative Violin maker, who died at the age of 98. She built a new Violin family, instruments proportional in size and pitch. She helped to reimagine what a violin could be.
She used technology to build instruments to rival the work of 17th and 18th Century masters. She designed and built an entire family of violins, that became known as the "new violin family", or the "violin octet". It not only extended the range of the traditional violin family, but also corrected acoustic imbalance. She was internationally known for her work.
The cellist Yo-Yo Ma recorded Bartok's Viola concerto using one of Hutchin's alto violins. Her work was the subject of an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, from 2002/2003.
As a teacher at a private girls school in NYC, she was invited to join a faculty chamber music group. She bought a viola for $75., became frustrated with its limitations. As an accomplished woodworker, she built a better one for herself. This was the beginning of her dedication. She began her studies with several master violin makers.
Unveiled in the mid-1960's, the new violin family ranged from a tiny treble violin, an octive higher than a conventional violin, to a 7 foot-tall contrabass.
In 1963 she founded the "Catgut Acoustical Society", dedicated to the study of musical acoustics.


alaine@éclectique said...

Thanks for that story, Lyn, I did not know of her.

I absolutely love strings and could listen to soulful violin all day.

Lyn said...

Hi Alaine-
It seems we find out about some of these folks only after they've passed on. She was special!

Jeane Myers said...

Lyn! this was so inspirational - thank you again for a wonderful post xxo

Lyn said...

Hi Jeane-
Thank you..once again discovering the talent and beauty we have in our midst! You are always a proponent of that!

Unknown said...

Hi Lyn,

The folks you tell us about must all have discovered some sort of elixir! It is amazing how talented some people are. Don't like the limitations of your instrument - build your own!

Lyn said...

Hi Derrick-
I absolutely agree with you..and I'm so glad to be able to pay tribute to these outstanding folks..the list seems endless!


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